Review – Conan The Barbarian #10 (Marvel Comics)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artwork: Mahmud Asrar
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Lettering: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 30th October 2019

Originally envisaged by Jason Aaron as ‘one big, twelve-part story’, the Alabama-born author’s plot to Issue ten of “Conan The Barbarian” must have struck many within this twenty-page periodical’s 25,867 strong audience as a serious filler strip which predominantly just rehashes the past history of the Crimson Witch, and her undying devotion to Razazel, Arch-demon of the Elder Night. Indeed, apart from this comic’s opening scene, which sees Lord Bevel Stonemarrow, the famous Witch Butcher of Brythunia, being unsuccessfully sacrificed upon the Great Red Doom’s blood-soaked altar, the American writer fails to provide his audience with any plot progress whatsoever until this book’s very end when the titular character is apparently killed by a some falling masonry; “I’ve never slain children before. But you lot are making me rethink that principle. Either way, this bloody folly ends n– No…”

Up until that point, all this particular instalment to “The Life & Death of Conan” offers is a lacklustre retread of the sorceress’ murderous spawn once again stalking the Cimmerian in his past, whether that be him fighting in the Deserts of Turan, battling the Man-eaters of Zamboula, or triumphing over the Devils beyond the Black River. Aaron even somewhat controversially attempts to incorporate his own adventures in amongst Robert E. Howard’s literary legends, by having Mahmud Asrar prodigiously pencil the fair-haired twins actually witnessing some of this ongoing comic book series’ previously penned tales, such as the shark-infested “ship of the dead”, the King of Aquilonia’s bizarre night-time shenanigans as a skull-masked vigilante accompanied by a ‘tame’ lion, and his first encounter in Zamora with the aforementioned adolescents’ magic-using mother.

To make matters moderately worse, some of these ‘insertions’ simply make no sense whatsoever, with the youngsters following their piratical prey across the ocean proving particularly contrived, especially when the diminutive duo are shown to be busy fending off the numerous tentacles of the self-same mutated Carcharodon Carcharias which Conan is simultaneously slaying on board his deserted ship. Just how the barbarian never sees the singular rowing boat bobbing up and down alongside his own vessel is miraculous in the extreme, and makes as much sense as the evil siblings agreeing to kill one another with knives rather than attack the Cimmerian after he has ‘beheaded’ their emaciated parent.

The writer of this piece was: Blax Kleric
Blax Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏

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